Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 14, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,795/pr

AT A GLANCE
Plus
I-PAShd cabinet design
Planar magnetic folded tweeter
Minus
Bass extended but not slammin’
No matching center speaker
Low rated sensitivity

THE VERDICT
The Solus Audio Entré II is a well-rounded performer whose special attribute is an elaborate bass-enhancing enclosure.

Life has a way of setting us up for disappointment. So we develop a hard shell of skepticism and rote responses: There is no free lunch. You can’t get blood from a stone. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There’s no such thing as an honest politician. Don’t order the fish on a Monday. And to that list, add: You can’t get big bass out of a small speaker. Little speakers that try to sound big just end up with a bloated bass hump and a turbulent, chuffing port.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 10, 2017  |  0 comments
Walmart-owned Vudu will convert your Blu-ray or DVD titles via smartphone. Using the Mobile Disc-to-Digital feature on the Vudu mobile app, scan the barcode on the packaging. It’s not free—you’ll pay $2 per title for standard-def or $5 for high-def.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments
Roku’s new operating system brings new features. The search platform ties into 300 streaming channels. More Ways to Watch uses content recognition to recommend programs or streams, including those delivered by antenna. If you’d rather not have Roku monitoring your viewing, it can be turned off.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  2 comments
Though I live in an apartment packed with LPs and CDs, my work as an audio reviewer sometimes requires me to access music from a mobile device, either directly from the device itself or streaming to an a/v receiver or wireless speaker(s). I use a tablet for that. Ideally, the tablet should hold a generous selection of music files, the higher-res the better, and make it easy to manage them. Unfortunately the tablets I've owned up to now have done neither of those things. So it's time for a new tablet. And it's not an iPad.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 07, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Comfort
Value
PRICE $3,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Beryllium diaphragm
Rock-star cosmetics
Fine-tuned highs and timbre
Minus
Expensive

THE VERDICT
Focal’s Utopia headphones are a bleeding-edge statement from a pedigreed loudspeaker manufacturer that has made the most of its speaker-designing experience.

When I look back on all the dumb things I did as a kid, surely one of the dumbest was pitching rocks and dirt balls at a wasp nest. With each impact, a cloud of wasps rose from the nest. It was mesmerizing—until one of us got stung. Reviewing Focal’s Utopia headphones isn’t at all stupid, but I suspect the results are going to be similar: a cloud of wasps, maybe a sting. Some readers will look askance at $3,999 headphones, especially since the things I have on hand for comparison cost a fraction of that. I don’t often breathe such rarefied air.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 06, 2017  |  1 comments
MQA is coming to CDs, with the first releases arriving from Ottava and Chesky. Master Quality Authenticated is a form of “audio origami” that folds down hi-res audio into more manageable file sizes and streams. It can travel in a “CD quality” stream, so why not release it on CD?
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 05, 2017  |  1 comments
A study of à la carte pay-TV pricing called “Let’s Get Ready to Bundle” shows that consumers don’t want many channels, especially when they find out the real cost. Hub Entertainment Research asked 1,500 broadband subscribers to choose from 77 channels and streamers.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jun 28, 2017  |  5 comments
Cable operators are complaining about package deals that junk up their systems with channels they don’t want.
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jun 20, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $399 pr

AT A GLANCE
Plus
For desktop or in-room listening
PC-friendly USB and line inputs
Class A/B analog amp
Minus
Limited (but adjustable) bass

THE VERDICT
Audioengine, always a champ in powered compact speakers, sweetens the deal on this one with a PC-friendly USB input and headphone jack.

Twelve-year-old Audioengine is best known for active compact speakers, though the company also makes passive compact speakers, a subwoofer, a small amplifier, a USB stick DAC, and a couple of streaming DACs. The HD3 loudspeaker is more or less an amalgamation of most of those products, infusing a sweet little speaker with a Class A/B amp, DAC, Bluetooth streaming, and a couple of less common features that just might make it irresistible to those in the market for a pair of small wireless speakers.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jun 15, 2017  |  0 comments
Audio hardware sales broke records in 2016, rising to $10.2 billion, a whopping 33 percent increase, says Futuresource Consulting. Burgeoning categories include ...

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